How to Build an Easy DIY Wood Birdhouse

DIY lovers like to come up with original projects of all kinds. Have you ever thought of building a wooden birdhouse for your garden, backyard or patio?

This is a relatively simple but enticing DIY project which will not only add a decorative item to your garden but also be of practical use as well. A birdhouse will attract more birds to the area, making it a focal point in your garden, as well as a way of adding those sweet chirping sounds from all sorts of birds.

DIY Wood Birdhouse

Your kids are going to love this simple wooden birdhouse project.

If you have kids, then a birdhouse will also be instructive for them as they will be able to see birds as well as enjoy putting food and water for them, especially during those months when it is hard for them to find it readily available. So, let’s move on to explaining how to build a wooden birdhouse.

Birdhouse Plan with Dimensions

Here is a sample birdhouse plan with detail dimensions. The fig-1 shows the front-view and side-view of the finished birdhouse.

DIY Birdhouse

Now let’s see the shape and dimensions of the individual wood pieces. This will help you to buy the required wooden board and cut the wood to the correct size.

DIY Bird House Plan with Dimensions

Tools and materials you will need:

  • Wood planks such as cedar or cypress or pine boards (1 x 6-inch)
  • Galvanized screws or nails
  • Wood glue
  • C-clamps
  • Hammer
  • Bandsaw or hacksaw
  • Ruler
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Paint (optional)
  • Drill (optional)
  • Finish nailer (optional)

Step by step guide to building a DIY birdhouse

Step 1: Raw Material and Tools

Acquire the tools and materials (Wood, screws, and paint) needed as per the list above. As you can see you do not need much to build the birdhouse. You might have some planks of wood stored away that will serve the purpose.
DIY Tools
Untreated wood is mostly recommended as apart from being ideal for painting, it will help the birdhouse be sturdier and more resistant against the weather. In fact, woods like cypress or cedar are not susceptible to rotting and they will last long. Pine is a cheaper option or go for oak wood if you want a stylish birdhouse that lasts long. A saw and a drill are basically all the tools you need. Other than that it is all cutting the word, and using screws to attach them together to form the birdhouse, as we will see hereunder.

Step 2: Cut the wood pieces

This is something you can do yourself if you have a saw. You can use a manual hacksaw, bandsaw, jigsaw or table saw to do this. Otherwise, you can have the hardware store do this for you.

You will need different sizes of wood, namely, two pieces for the side walls which can measure about 4 inches by 5.5 inches, and a piece measuring about 5.5 inches by 7.5 inches for the birdhouse’s floor.

You will need two pieces for the roof, however, one of them should be slightly longer than the other so that the two can be attached to one another easily. So you should have a piece measuring 4.75 inches by 7.5 inches, and another piece measuring 5.5 inches by 7.5 inches.

Finally, you will need two pieces to be used for the front and back walls, measuring 5.5 inches by 6.75 inches each.

Birdhouse front
Fig.3: Front piece of the birdhouse where you will drill the main hole.

You need to make two 45-degree cuts at the top. As you can see in the above figure, the included angle is 90-degrees which will support the roof with a slope.

Step 3:  Drilling the front hole

Once you have all the pieces for your birdhouse cut, you can then move on to the drilling of the main hole of the birdhouse. This will be on the front panel of the birdhouse. You will need a drill press to cut this hole which will be between 1 and 3 inches in diameter.
drill hole wood
As for drill bits, use a small size bit to drill a pilot hole and then use Forstner bit to enlarge. A cordless drill with a spade drill will also work, but make sure that you clamped the wood firmly.

Make sure that you place the front piece on a scrap wood plank and clamp it tightly using a c-clamp. Drill through your wood piece and let the drill penetrate a little deep into the scrap wood below it. This will ensure that no splintering off at the bottom of the hole. Alternatively, you could ask the hardware store to do it for you.

Birdhouse Hole Size

What size should the hole be on the birdhouse? A hole size of diameter 1 to 1.5-inches (Ø25.4 – 38mm) is suitable for most small birds such as bluebirds, chickadee, Bewick’s wren, Warbler, Tree Swallow, titmouse, hummingbirds, etc.

Slightly larger birds such as House Finch, Screech-Owl, House Sparrow, Purple Martin prefer diameter 2 to 3-inches hole.

For Barn Owl you need 6-inches hole and a much larger birdhouse.

Below the main hole, you could also drill a small hole to fix a perch. Wild birds would examine the birdhouse and surroundings carefully before they decide to make their nest. The perch allows the bird to land. However, if you are placing the birdhouse on trees then the perch is not necessary.

Step 4:  Sanding or Polishing

The wooden pieces that you cut and drilled will have rough edges. You might want to polish it to smoothen the surfaces and remove any splinter protruding out.

While a belt sander would make your sanding work easier, you don’t need to use it. You can use sandpaper to polish the wood by hand and it will not take much time and effort.

Step 5:  Painting or staining

This is an optional step, for those who prefer to paint the birdhouse. It is best to do this on each piece of wood separately rather than after the birdhouse has been built as it is much easier and it will also ensure a neater result.

A word of caution: avoid bright or flashy colors which could scare away birds and do not paint the inside of the house to avoid the birds pecking at the paint.

Step 6:  Gluing the pieces together

You will now use glue to attach the different pieces together. This can be done with a small paintbrush to apply the glue evenly to the edges of the wood pieces, and always with the outer parts facing you.

Start with the walls, one after the other, and then position them on the floor of the birdhouse to glue them to it.

Step 7:  Clamping

Attach the clamps to each corner, and apply pressure to the connecting edges, so that the wood pieces stick well together with the glue. This will help the glue to set properly.

Step 8:  Adding the screws (or nails)

While the wood pieces will have attached to each other well with glue, it is always best to go for more sturdiness by adding screws, especially for the floor.

Pre-drilling a small hole will help to drive the screws easily. You can also use hammer and nails or even better a finish nailer. But if you are doing this with kids you may want to avoid using power tools like nail-guns.

Step 9:  Attaching the roof

Finally, glue the two pieces that form the roof at a right angle. The longer piece will sit slightly higher and you will have a nice sloping roof to finish off your birdhouse. After the glue has been allowed to set properly, use screws for additional strength.
Wooden Birdhouse
And that’s all it will take to build your birdhouse! As you can see it is quite straightforward and anyone can manage to do it!